Yesterday, in the men’s style post, I mentioned one of my biggest fashion pet peeves: that men’s clothing has standardized sizes and women’s clothing does not. There’s nothing that bothers me more than the fact that I can be a size 0 or size 8 depending on the brand. So why don’t women have standardized sizes too?
My co-worker had an interesting thought on the matter: men are systematic, clinical, they like to walk into a store select the correct size from a table of items and pay for it. No wondering if it will fit, and no trying on.
“In a men’s store, the clothes are folded using cardboard and pins. So, if you want to try on a shirt, you actually have to break it. No man is going to go through that hassle.”
This no-nonsense, scientific approach to shopping is completely different from the way women shop, he argues. Women want to feel good about the clothes they buy. They want to fit into the smaller size, so retailers cheat and put a size four tag in a pair of pants that another designer would consider a six or eight.
While I rarely agree with him on anything regarding fashion, I have to say, I think that he’s right on the money. My Mother would rather skip dessert for life, work out until she bleeds and wear three pair of Spanx than buy a size other than four. And there was certainly a time, when if the size 26 jeans and the size 2 top didn’t fit, I was going home empty handed.
Luckily, I’m no longer obsessed with the number, because I realize that the digit on the tag is fungible and subjective. But it took a 20lb weight gain and years spent working retail before I learned to accept that reality.
So here are the points that I’d like to discuss:
First off, is my co-worker right? Are retailers engaged in psychological warfare with American shoppers? Are they giving men the systematic shopping experience that they want, and perpetuating an alternate reality for women where we can lie to ourselves about what size we are because the lie makes us feel good?
Secondly, do you think standardized sizing is a good idea?
And last, if we had standardized sizing, and suddenly your were a 12 instead of an 8 or an 8 instead of 4, how would you feel about that?